Welcome to the MTHS website
The Mountain Top Historical Society is dedicated to discovering and preserving the unique and rich history of the Catskill High Peaks. The Society is a not-for-profit organization and maintains a Visitor and Art Trail Center and the Ulster and Delaware train depot (shown above) on our campus in Haines Falls. We are located on scenic Route 23A at the gateway to the Mountain Top and are easily accessible from Exit 20 or 21 of the New York State Thruway.
The Town of Hunter, home to MTHS, has been designated a Preserve America Community.
Former MTHS Board member and beloved mountain top resident Sidonia Palace passed away January 17, 2021.
Sidonia was a vital part of the society and had served it for 42 years until she retired in 2016.
We are planning programs and activities for the 2021 season.
The uncertainties due to the COVID-19 Crisis will likely impact the the timing and nature of our programs.
As of now, we have listed our tentatively scheduled events starting on May 16.
As the COVID-19 Crisis continues to affect all of us we hope you are all doing well.
The updates and warnings have been changing from day to day here is an update:
- The Mountain Top Historical Society's Visitors Center remains closed for the winter season.
- All MTHS events and programs in 2020 have been canceled.
- The KRT parking area at MTHS is closed during the winter season as it is used as an emergency helicopter landing site. The smaller main parking area just behind the visitor center may be used subject to weather conditions. The KRT is open to the falls.
- The Society incurs expenses in providing access and parking for the KRT. A donation box is provided for your voluntary donations.
Read the current issue of our newsletter, The Hemlock.
MTHS News and links:
- The Hotel Kaaterskill 1883 Fire Safety Survey and floor plan is the spark for a Spring2020 program and a hike.
- Kaaterskill Rail Trail
- Clove Road by Justine Hommel -A 2006 article by Justine Hommel.
- The Dodd House - Also by Justine an article from the archives of the Hemlock
- Around Hunter --A great Gift for a friend or yourself-- is available at the Visitor's Center Click on the link or the book cover for more information.
- Larry Tompkins -- Out Windham Way a wonderful book from our former MTHS president.
From our Archives -
Follow the "From Our Archives" link in the "Preserve" menu on the right to see information about some of the items in our Justine Hommel Archive Room.
Included are posts on:
one of several letters from Civil War soldier William Young. Donated by Odile Dwyer.
A collection of glass plate negatives. The gift of Shirley and Gerald Dunn See details here.
Dear Members and Friends
of the Mountain Top Historical Society:
I write this hoping that you, your families, friends and colleagues are well and staying safe during this time of extended social distancing and self-isolation. While we hope for an early end to this situation, it most likely will be with us for much longer than we care to imagine.
Looking ahead, the MTHS has decided to cancel our hikes and presentations in June. It breaks our heart to do this, but we want to do whatever we can to keep everyone safe and reduce the chance of spreading the contagion. We will continue to keep you updated on our plans beyond June.
Meanwhile, we are exploring ways to provide programming via video conferencing. We will announce these possibilities on our webpage, via Facebook and by future email messages. We hope you will be interested in participating in these experiences.
The Visitors’ Center is closed and will remain closed at least through May 31 and most likely through June. We depend on volunteers to greet and assist visitors and cannot put them at risk of contracting the corona virus. We have closed our parking lots until Governor Cuomo lifts the social distancing mandate and the DEC re-opens access to the Kaaterskill Falls.
To stay connected with you, we will continue to post history articles from The Hemlock on our webpage and Facebook page. We are thinking ahead to next year. The programs and hikes we have had to cancel this year we hope to reschedule in 2021.
Shortly we will be sending out our annual membership appeal. When it arrives, please take a few minutes to renew your membership or become a new member. Your support will help us maintain and build our Archives, provide alternative programming, and prepare for our future beyond the Covid-19 hiatus. We trust you want the MTHS to be a part of your lives and your community for years to come. Thank you.
Stay well. Stay safe. Help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Puppet Theater Rescued
The Society’s Puppet theater has hosted the story of Rip Van Winkle since it was built for us by the Platte Clove Community in 2007. Modeled after the Punch and Judy style theater used at Rip’s Retreat in the 1950’s it has been standing outside our train station summer and winter for twelve years and was showing serious signs of wear and decay. By this summer it had become unusable.
That has changed. Board member Dick Haines, took the initiative to oversee it’s restoration. Board Member George Van Dyke replaced all of the decaying wood with weather resistant materials and Dick called on the Platte Clove Community to repaint it.
According to Dick:
Our puppet theater hasn't looked this good since the day it was put there. Our thanks to Reseph, his daughter and his sister, Leon and two of his children. They did a great job. My thanks to Joann who stopped by to give them a well deserved pat on the back.
Now, thanks to all involved we can expect to see and hear the Rip Van Winkle story each summer for many more summers at our summer events.
Do you think that’s thunder?
Thanks to our business sponsors:
2020 Business sponsors:
Brookside B&B, Bruce Feml, Claude W. Lutz, Elena Suditu Dentist, P.C., Ethel & Orville Slutzky Family Foundation, Fred’s Photography, Gordon Hunter Mountain Realty, Haines Falls Auto/Hunter Towing, Highmark Builders, Kaaterskill Liquors, Pancho Villas Mexican Restaurant, Pure Mountain Yoga, Rosehaven Inn, Highmark Builders, The Mansion House at Alfie’s, Snow Bird Ski Shop, Thorpe Contracting Inc., Thorpe GMC Inc., Traphagen’s Honey, Tryon Family Foundation